Alfie movie review, Charles Shyer, Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Marisa Tomei, Susan Sarandon, Omar Epps, Jane Krakowski, Nia Long, Renee Taylor. Review by Rob Blackwelder ©SPLICEDwire
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A scene from 'Alfie'
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100 minutes | Rated: R
WIDE: Friday, November 5, 2004
Directed by Charles Shyer

Starring Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Marisa Tomei, Susan Sarandon, Omar Epps, Jane Krakowski, Nia Long, Renee Taylor


This film loses none of its energy, charm or spirit to the small screen, but it must be seen in widescreen to do justice to its delicious visual style.
The two commentary tracks on this DVD are exactly what was needed to give this "Alfie" its due: One features director Charles Shyer and editor Padraic McKinley who offer terrific insights into the film's fantastic color and style that is thoroughly modern while paying homage to the jazzy, New-Wave inspired cinema of the 1960s. In the other Shyer and co-writer Elaine Pope talk about the choices they made updating the 1966 story for 2004 - how the characters evolved, how some plot points had to be abandoned and how others were reimagined. Great stuff.

These three also participate in a fascinating round-table discussion featurette with the creative team for the film (cinematographer, production designer, etc.), which explores all these points in a peel-back of the curtain revealing what they were all thinking as the project got underway. This bonus gets into some surprising detail about the shoot (like that the film was made mostly in London, not New York, where it takes place).

Also included are making-of features that discuss how they approached the talking-to-camera and modernizing the story - and especially modernizing the women (Pope offers many worthy insights).

Every extra on this disc is creatively edited, making intelligent use of split-screen to show relevant behind-the-scenes footage and passages from the original "Alfie" as they're discussed.

Feature on the uniquely mood-inducing songs, with Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart (interesting but at 12m, about two times longer than the material justifies), deleted scenes (with optional commentary), trailer, script, storyboards, stills.

This DVD gets docked 1/2 a star for not allowing you to skip to the menu during 4 trailers at the front of the disc.

1.85:1, Dolby 5.1 or 2.0
Looks and sounds fantastic.


  • Charles Shyer
  • Jude Law
  • Marisa Tomei
  • Susan Sarandon
  • Omar Epps
  • Jane Krakowski
  • Nia Long

  •  LINKS for this film
    Official site
    at Rotten Tomatoes
    at Internet Movie Database
    Jude Law's charm, savvier seductees turn 'Alfie' remake into an enjoyable evolution of an aimless lady-killer

    By Rob Blackwelder

    Playing an inveterate womanizer as a sympathetic hero didn't work especially well for Michael Caine in 1966's "Alfie." He was Oscar-nominated for the performance, but his title character was a misogynistic, egomaniacal cad -- taking advantage of vulnerable women, then disposing of them offhandedly. Even when a vague health problem became a plot point meant to turn his life around, there was still nothing redeemable about the jerk.

    On the other hand, in this year's "Alfie" remake, the irresistible Jude Law plays a more credibly charismatic and playful playboy whose contented superficiality steadily gives way to emerging self-awareness and perceptible depth -- which surprises even Alfie himself.

    As the wily rake admits -- frankly, charmingly and direct-to-camera -- his concurrent affairs with a bevy of Manhattan beauties are a product of good looks, practiced flattery, an upscale metrosexual wardrobe, his English accent and the fact that he drives a limo.

    "I'm just being honest," is his shrugging mantra to the audience as we become privy to his fleeting thoughts -- even during lusty liaisons like his encounter with a married gal-pal (Jane Krakowski) in the back of a stretch Lincoln. "Obligatory cuddling," he winks at us as the encounter winds down, "one-thousand one, one-thousand two..."

    But underneath the uncouth deliberateness of modern Alfie's many seductions, Law creates a three-dimensional character who recognizes his flaws, tries to minimize any damage he does to women's hearts and knows someday his lifestyle is going to come crashing down around him if he doesn't begin to change.

    More importantly, the women Alfie dallies with are not doormats -- which is another very welcome departure from the 1966 film.

    Marisa Tomei plays an adorable single mom who is one of his fawning "whenever" girls until she begins to assert herself, much to Alfie's dismay. Nia Long (looking dead sexy and very Foxy Brown) is his best friend's recent ex, with whom a pool-table encounter begets far more trouble than Alfie's shortsighted libido counted on. Sienna Miller (now Law's real-life girlfriend) is a slinky, kinky young model whom Alfie moves into his low-rent apartment in a brief, inharmonious attempt at a real relationship. And Susan Sarandon is magnificent as a voluptuous, monied maven of younger men in whom Alfie literally meets his match.

    Each affair provides natural fodder (far more natural than in the earlier incarnation) for Alfie's semi-cognizant emotional evolution ("I find lately even lying to myself comes easily," he notes to the audience), and director Charles Shyer ("Baby Boom," "The Affair of the Necklace") surrounds his amorous anti-hero with metaphorical and literal signs (one-word billboards dot the scenery, reading PURSUE, WISH, SEARCH, etc.) that help subconsciously guide him toward growing up.

    Shyer also blesses the picture with appetizing atmosphere saturated in swinging '60s jazz and rich, lustful colors.

    But it's the way Alfie addresses the camera, working his charm while candidly peeling back the curtain on his psychological cogs, that gives this film its magnetism. These Id-fueled monologues (written by Shyer and "Seinfeld's" Elaine Pope) sparkle with wit, and Law's innate affability gives them that much more punch.

    While "Alfie" thankfully doesn't kowtow to the looming specter of a conventional happy ending, Shyer does make one conspicuous miscalculation in the form of an extraneous character whose only purpose is to deliver unforgivable clichés of unnecessary advice. "Two things I've learned in life, kid," says Mr. Exposition, "find someone to love and live every day as if it were your last."

    But even with the burden of this bozo's two incongruous scenes, "Alfie" remains a rare delight: A remake that bests its predecessor.

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